This was a while ago, but I still have a few "what-ifs?" in my head. Last year, I was interviewing at some startup based in San Francisco (they actually just got bought). Most parts of the interview went fairly well.

One of the questions was about preventing MySQL injections and I had said that I wrote a wrapper for the MySQLi class on a project to work with MySQL. I said that I passed everything as a parameter to the mysqli object and everything is handled by that class. Anyway, they said that was a security risk because MySQLi did not prevent MySQL injections. I then said that I was pretty sure it did but they continually argued it did not. I am certain that MySQL injections can be prevented by parameterized queries.

What would be the best way to handle this situation? Should I just admit that I was wrong?


2 Answers 2


The point of an interview is to get a job, not to win an argument.

This is an opportunity for you to show how you deal with conflict, how you resolve an issue when someone in authority says something that you disagree with, realizing they may be right or wrong.

  • Point out that there appears to be a technical conflict, and this is a great opportunity for you to show how you deal with situations like that. (In other words, change the conversation away from the SQL injection issue.)
  • Tell them that there will be times that there are conflicts, in which you believe one thing, and someone in authority believes something different.
  • Explain one way that you would deal with it (and here is one way)
    • You'll acknowledge the conflict, and ask for some time to research
    • You would want to present why you think your way is correct
    • You would also want to listen to them, to see why they think their way is correct
    • And ultimately, you would accept their direction, if you were not able to convince them of the correctness of your understanding

This moves the question away from an argument in an interview. They may be deliberately telling you something wrong to see if you catch it, or truly wrong and thinking they were right. But rather than fighting for too long, and losing the opportunity to work there, you instead point out the way you can be an asset in a conflict, and be someone they want to hire.


I usually do not trust in people, specialy in human resources; they have a lot of tricks and I often ask myself what things they said just to test me... well i'm an insecure person and I have to live with all my 'what-ifs' too...

I recommend you to act just like if you're with the customer, they maybe care about that (depending on the job, you know); and try to let behind your self-steem, I know it hurts but remember that the world don't care about it.

And to solve it, I agree with -thursdaysgeek-, and try to defend your arguments without details, just to slip away from the theme of the conversation.

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